Best Investment Apps of 2021
Are you ready to start investing? Way to go! Investing your spare cash is the ultimate way to take your financial freedom to the next level.
In the past, you needed to know a lot about investing to get started. (Or at least you needed enough money to hire someone who knows a lot.)
This is no longer true. You have countless easy ways to invest – and you can invest on the go from your phone. And you can open an account with a $0 minimum balance.
Not all investment apps were created equally, so it’s good to know which apps perform the best and really deserve your attention.
In this post, I want to share the best investment apps to start using right now – as well as the reasons they are so awesome.
10 Best Investment Apps of 2021
Here are the 10 best investment apps for any investor to use right now:
- 🏆 Robinhood: Best Overall Investment App
- Ally: Great for Active Traders
- Public.com: Great for Beginner Investors
- Webull: Great for Active Mobile Traders
- Betterment: Great for New and Seasoned Investors
- Acorns: Great for Hands-off Investors
- Stash: Great for New Investors
- Fundrise: Great for Investors with a Longer-Term Outlook
- TD Ameritrade: Great for Long Term Investors
- Wealthfront: Great for Hands-off Investors
Robinhood is an online stock brokerage that provides a completely free way to invest. With no commissions on stock, no account minimums, and an easy-to-use interface, Robinhood earns the top spot as the best investing app, particularly for new investors.
Of course, because it offers free investing, you won’t get lots of other perks – like research, trading tools, investing education, and lots of investment options – but if you’re looking for a high-tech, top-rated, intuitively-designed app that offers 100% fee-free investing, then Robinhood sets the bar.
Robinhood also allows you trade crypto (Bitcoin, Ethereum, and more), and, if you want to take your investing to the next level, you could buy access to the premium version, Robinhood Gold, for $5 a month. This gives you access to the premium features of the app, such as the ability to trade on margin, make bigger instant deposits, and access market data.
- App Rating: 8 on the App Store; 4.4 on Google Play
- Fees: Offers completely fee-free investing
- Best For: Great for people who are new to investing
You probably already know Ally as one of the best online banks of 2021 – Ally Invest is the investing portion of Ally Bank.
It’s an excellent choice for an active trader who is interested in volume discounts and some of the industry’s lowest fees (such as $0 trade commission).
Ally Invest also offers commission-free ETFs from well-known business names like Schwab, iShares, and Vanguard.
- App Rating: 8 on the App Store; 4.5 on Google Play
- Fees: Low-fee online broker
- Best For: Active Traders
Public, formerly known as Matador, mixes commission-free investing with social media to create a simple and unique platform ideal for beginners.
Public’s Android and iOS apps help you connect with other investors as you connect your money with about 5,000 different securities. You’ll get a free stock (up to $50 in value) if you refer a friend who also signs up and starts trading.
With no minimum balances required and fractional shares available, Public.com’s trading app lowers the bar for admission into the world of investing. When you’ve downloaded the app, opened an account, and connected your bank account, you’re ready to go.
Here’s another reason to consider Public: Through its use of themes, the platform helps you invest in companies you believe in. Themes let you buy into women-owned companies or environmentally responsible corporations, for example.
More advanced investors who try Public may miss the ability to trade in cryptocurrencies or international stocks, but beginners who want to learn the basics in a fun, intuitive, and socially conscious way should give Public a close look.
- App Rating:6 on the App Store; 4.4 on Google Play
- Fees: No commissions or fees for trades; $30 for broker-assisted over-the-phone trades; no interest paid on invested cash.
- Best For: Beginners who want an intuitive and fun way to learn.
Active traders who want a mobile-first way to trade stock shares, ETFs, and options will like Webull, one of the newest investment apps in this marketplace and a growing competitor for Robinhood.
Webull provides a simple, bare-bones interface through its smartphone apps and its site. You won’t see a ton of educational content, although I am impressed with Webull’s graphic analyses. This is not the best choice for a beginner.
But if you have a pretty good idea what you’re doing, Webull offers mobile friendly and commission and fee-free trades of stock shares, ETFs, and options with a $0 minimum balance. You can also open an IRA or a taxable account. Webull covers the basics.
Webull is working on a new cryptocurrency platform, and I’ll be interested in checking it out once it’s up and running.
- App Rating: 4.7 on the App Store; 4.4 on Google Play
- Fees: No commissions or fees
- Best For: Active, mobile traders
A list of the best investment apps wouldn’t be complete without Betterment – a Robo-advising platform that manages and re-balances your portfolio. As you may already know, I use Betterment for some of my taxable investments, and from my experience, it’s very user-friendly.
To start investing with Betterment, you’ll need to answer some questions about your age, financial goals, income, and risk tolerance – so that it can evaluate you as an investor and align your experience with your goals.
There’s built-in financial guidance, which is helpful for anyone who is new to investing – and this may even be useful for seasoned investors.
In fact, Betterment is an excellent mobile app for beginners as well as experienced investors because it can provide as much guidance as you need – as well as let you do your own thing (if you already know what you’re doing).
Plus, you can start investing with as little as $10, which is awesome if you want to start small. Betterment also has a very transparent 0.25% annual management fee – something not all investment apps will be clear about.
Now Betterment has checking and savings accounts which means you can easily manage your investments within the context of your larger personal finance goals.
- App Rating: 4.8 on the App Store; 4.3 on Google Play
- Fees: Annual fee – 0.25%
- Best For: Great for both new and seasoned investors
Acorns is another straightforward money making app – and this is definitely one of the best investment apps for beginners. The app helps you to learn must-have investing skills as you go – and turn investing into a daily habit.
It’s a novel idea: You’ll invest your spare change, save money, and learn more about investing with Acorns actionable investing tips from the experts.
To start investing with Acorns, you’ll need to link the app to your credit card or debit card. Acorns will round up your purchases and sweep the change into your investment portfolio.
It’s a fantastic app to use if you’d like a hands-off approach to investing but want to make investing a new habit.
- App Rating: 4.7 on the App Store; 4.5 on Google Play
- Fees: Monthly fee – $1 for basic (Acorns Lite) investing app; $3 a month for Acorns Personal which includes an IRA account and a checking account. Acorns Lite is free for college students.
- Best For: Hands-off investors
Stash is one of the best investing apps for beginners who want to start small. It’s an investment adviser that provides access to over 250 different exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and individual stocks as well as customized guidance.
Stash aims to make the process of selecting your investments quick and easy for newbies. However, the fees can add up if you decide to add additional services or accounts (up to $9 a month depending on account types).
To make an investment with Stash, you’ll have to connect it to a checking account – and you can start investing with as little as $5. You can then begin building your portfolio of stocks and ETFs with personalized guidance.
- Fees: $11 per month + $3 per month if you add a retirement account; and $9 per month to add other services (like custodial accounts or the monthly market insight report).
- Best For: Beginner Investors
The stock market is a staple of life in investing, but if you’re looking for another way to invest, Fundrise is an excellent platform to consider.
Fundrise offers crowdsourced real estate investing with healthy annual returns. It’s a smart way to get into property investing (especially for those who don’t have that much money). Most other online real estate platforms are accessible only to accredited investors – but Fundrise makes it accessible to all.
Fundrise offers real investment trust funds (REITs), and you can get access to expert advice, as well as some options for balanced investing. REITs are kind of like mutual funds except they’re built from real estate projects instead of securities.
It’s great for investors looking to diversify their portfolio – but it’s worth knowing that the investments are highly illiquid. That means it’s a better app for those with a long-term outlook because you may need to hold the investments for at least five years (and there’s a fee to exit early).
The app is only available on iOS devices – which is a bit of a shame if you’re an Android user.
- App Rating: 8 on the App Store
- Fees: 1% annually
- Best For: Investors with a long-term outlook
TD Ameritrade is an online stock trading and investing platform that’s ideal if you’re after long-term investing.
I like TD Ameritrade because it’s just as useful for active, experienced traders as it is for beginners (though it may not be the best for complete beginners).
TD Ameritrade has just cut back to $0 commission on online equity trades, ETFs, and online option trades – though, other trades (like online trades of OTC stocks and broker-assisted trades) will cost you extra.
TD Ameritrade offers educational videos that’ll allow you to gain additional investing knowledge and skills. Also, though it’s one of the best investment apps, there is also an extensive branch network in the U.S., which means that you can also get face-to-face assistance if you ever need to.
TD Ameritrade combines full-service brokerage houses with online excellence. It’s a nice combination.
Charles Schwab, a leading broker, is currently acquiring Ameritrade so this trading platform may look different in a few months. However, Schwab and Fidelity, another leading brokerage house, have both adopted commission-free trading, too.
- App Rating: 5 on the App Store; 3.4 on Google Play
- Fees: $0.00 commissions on online stock, ETF and option trades
- Best For: Long term investors
Are you looking for holistic financial advice from experts, and a hands-off approach to investing? Want an easy way to save, plan, and invest – all on one app? Wealthfront might be a good app to consider then!
Wealthfront is a robo-advisor that offers an all-in-one solution: earning interest on your cash, advice on how to manage your savings, as well as automated investment management.
With Wealthfront’s 529 college savings plan, you can save for college in a way that allows you to keep more of your money (thanks to tax advantages). In fact, according to Wealthfront, you could be covering as much as 16% more of your expenses than with a traditional investment account!
The app also receives excellent ratings from its users (4.9 on both the App Store and Google Play), so you can expect top-quality user experience. And its tax-loss harvesting leads the way for transparency.
- App Rating: 9 on the App Store, 4.9 on Google Play
- Fees:25% annual advisory fee
- Best For: Hands Off Investors
These platforms didn’t make my top 10 best apps, but they’re solid and worth a mention:
- M1 Finance: Robo-advisor with no management fee.
- Charles Schwab: The standard in brokerage accounts now with free online trading.
- Fidelity: Another full-service leader in the industry that has adopted free trading.
- Stockpile: Still charges a 99 cent fee for stock trades but has great educational content.
What’s The Best Investing App For You?
As you can see, there are plenty of apps that offer the convenience of investing on-the-go. Before you pick one, it’s important to think about why you’re investing, how long you’d like to invest for, and what you’d like to get from it.
Where to invest $500 right now
Lots of new investors take chances on long shots instead of buying shares of great companies. I prefer businesses like Amazon, Netflix, and Apple — they’re all on my best stocks for beginners list.
There’s a company that “called” these businesses long before they hit it big. They first recommended Netflix in 2004 at $1.85 per share, Amazon in 2002 at $15.31 per share, and Apple back in the iPod Shuffle era at $4.97 per share. Take a look where they are now.
That company: The Motley Fool.
For people ready to make investing part of their strategy for financial freedom, take a look at The Motley Fool’s flagship investing service, Stock Advisor. They just announced their top 10 “best buys now” across the entire stock market. Whether you’re starting with $100, $500, or more, you should check out the full details.
If, for example, you want to start out as an investor without much experience, time, or little money, then choosing an app that does it for you, and has low minimum investment requirements might be the best way to begin.
If you’re an experienced investor looking to take your money further, the apps you choose will probably offer less hand-holding, and more freedom to make your own decisions.
Ultimately, you’ll want to choose an app that closely matches your investing needs and financial goals – whether you’re a beginner or a pro – and offers:
- The most cost-effective option for you.
- A streamlined user experience.
- Accessible customer support.
- An account balance you can afford to maintain.
1 You’ll also bear the standard fees and expenses reflected in the pricing of the ETFs in your account, plus fees for various ancillary services charged by Stash and the custodian.